Stolen Milk Crates Feed Black MarketBy RAQUEL MARIA DILLON
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — For decades, college kids have used stolen milk crates as the basic building blocks of coffee tables and dorm room shelves.Now, a new breed of crate rustler is cashing in by swiping thousands of the containers from loading docks and selling them to shady recyclers.
The containers are chopped into bits and shipped to booming factories in China to be made into a variety of products, from pipes to flower pots.
Facing an estimated $80 million in annual losses from the thefts, dairies across the country are moving to stop the plastic pilfering. In California, companies are even hiring private detectives and staging sting operations.
“We saw them disappearing into this black hole,” said Rachel Kaldor, executive director of the Dairy Institute, a trade group in Sacramento. “We just don’t know who’s stealing these crates off the loading docks.”
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Yes, I am a Crate Rustler. But that was ages ago and… well… see, technically I didn’t “steal” the milk crates. Steal is such a harsh and definitive word. I sort of “Lured” them away. I asked if I could have one and the manager was like “whatever”. So I put one in my car while she was on break. But, I’m telling you, inanimate objects are alive because when I went back to my car after work, mysteriously, a bunch of them had piled themselves in the back seat and covered themselves with a blanket. I guess they didn’t want to be parted from each other. Yeah, that’s it. And they got cold waiting for me.